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Summary

  1. MPs met at 09.30 GMT for culture questions. Following that, Leader of the House William Hague set out forthcoming business.
  2. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt made a statement on a report into sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
  3. Then, MPs heard a statement on the publication of a report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on the future of the BBC.
  4. There were two backbench debates: the first on the Equitable life insurance company and the second on epilepsy.
  5. The adjournment debate was on government support for victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham from MP Sarah Champion.
  6. Peers met at 11.00 GMT - after oral questions, the House will debate a report on access and the use of facilities by members on leave of absence and those disqualified.
  7. The day's legislation included a debate on the devolution of powers to enable the Scottish Parliament to reduce the voting age in Scotland to 16.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

End of business

And that brings an end to today's business in the Houses of Parliament.

Both Houses will return tomorrow for debate on private members' bills. Join us from 09.30 GMT for full coverage.

Government changes

House of Commons

Parliament

Ms Featherstone argues that central government changes are addressing the fallout from the Rotherham sexual abuse scandal; including the

five government commissioners sent in to run Rotherham Council and a new Education department initiative to improve leadership of child and family social work.

These will bring about the "essential changes in culture" and ensure "there is politically accountable leadership in the future", she says.

However, she says she will make £250,000 available for a "risky business" initiative to give advice, support and advocacy to girls and young women involved in or at risk of abuse through sexual exploitation - subject to being provided with an appropriate business case.

Government response

House of Commons

Parliament

Home Affairs Minister Lynne Featherstone is now responding to the debate for the government.

Picture: Sarah Champion

House of Commons

Parliament

Sarah Champion
BBC

No funding to date

House of Commons

Parliament

Sarah Champion says that despite several promises from the government, Rotherham has still not received any additional funding to help deal with the fall out of the

Rotherham abuse scandal.

"If there had been a natural disaster in Rotherham that affected 1,400 people and the police and local services had insufficient resources to deal with it the government would intervene," she tells MPs.

Despite meeting the home secretary and representatives from the Treasury to date she has only received a "holding letter", she complains.

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now turn to the final debate of the day; the adjournment debate on government support for victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

The debate is opened by the local MP, Sarah Champion.

Government response

House of Commons

Parliament

Responding to the debate for the government Care Minster Norman Lamb says he is confident the NHS work force is well trained to treat neurological conditions such as epilepsy as "part of the undergraduate medical curriculum and a component of GP training".

He argues that the "co-commissioning" system between clinical commissioning groups - who are best placed to "manage services for local populations for local need" - and national bodies such as NICE and NHS England is the best arrangement for ensuring quality national care.

Labour response

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne is now responding to the debate for Labour.

Andrew Gwynne
BBC

Workplace discrimination

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Grahame Morris warns about the prevalence of discrimination against those with epilepsy in the work place.

People with epilepsy are twice as likely to be unemployed, while a report published by Young Epilepsy found that three quarters of people will epilepsy have experienced discriminating due to their condition, he says.

He makes the argument for increased regulation of anti-discrimination legislation as he says he is "concerned that the duties and obligations" are not being met by employers.

'Difficult' benefits system

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's George Howarth says the benefits system makes the lives of epilepsy sufferers "very difficult indeed."

He quotes one of his constituents who has had his benefits removed as he was reassessed for his ability to work, forcing his family to live on £50 a week for six months, despite having severe epilepsy.

He says he hopes this case will give the government "pause for thought" about how the benefits system "seems to mount up against" people with long term disabilities.

'Patchy' care

House of Commons

Parliament

Greg Mulholland
BBC

Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland warns MPs that epilepsy care is "patchy" across the UK.

A report by Epilepsy Action found that 70% of Care Commission Groups have not produced a written needs assessment of the health and social care needs for epilepsy, and have no plans to produce one in the future.

"That is simply not good enough," he says.

@CherylGillanMP

Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan tweets: Great and well deserved tributes to @Laura_Sandys in her debate on #epilepsydebate15

End of the day in the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

That's an early finish for peers today.

The House of Lords will sit again from 10.00 GMT tomorrow to debate private members' bills, beginning with the report stage of the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill.

The bill would introduce a legal target to spend at least 0.7% of GDP on international aid.

Stay with us today as MPs continue their backbench debate on epilepsy.

Jessica's story

House of Commons

Parliament

Steve Baker
BBC

Conservative Steven Baker tells MPs about an epileptic constituent named Jessica Monks, who took her own life after her epilepsy medication caused a "change in behaviour" and psychotic episodes.

"At no point was it explained to them that the medication would have these side effects" a visibly upset, Mr Baker says.

A series of breakdowns in communication amongst healthcare professionals resulted in two of his constituents "being robbed of their daughter and all of her hopes and dreams, and they deserve to know what will be done about it", he argues.

About epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain and causes repeated seizures.

The cells in the brain - neurons - conduct electrical signals and communicate with each other using chemical messengers.

During a seizure, there are abnormal bursts of neurons firing off electrical impulses.

This can cause the brain and body to behave strangely and the severity of seizures can differ from person to person.

Statement on Savile

Jimmy Savile

abused 63 people connected to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, but the one formal complaint made was ignored, an independent report has found.

It found Savile's reputation as a "sex pest" was an "open secret" among some staff - but allegations probably did not reach managers.

The formal complaint - made in 1977 by a victim's father - should have been reported to police, it added.

A separate report said "elements of the Savile story" could happen again.

Further steps

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Wheeler responds to the statement.

She tells peers that Jimmy Savile's victims continue to need help and support; and she asks whether there is any further news on moves to provide compensation for victims from the former DJ's estate.

She finishes by warning that vetting and barring systems might need to be tightened further, in light of more volunteers working in hospitals.

'Stigma'

House of Commons

Parliament

The debate is led by Conservative MP Laura Sandys, who says she is a sufferer of epilepsy herself.

She says that, in the 1970s, epileptics were not allowed to marry and there is still "a stigma" attached to the condition.

Laura Sandys
BBC

Statement repeated

House of Lords

Parliament

Health Minister Earl Howe is now repeating a statement given earlier in the House of Commons, on Jimmy Savile and the report into sexual abuse at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

'Fight will continue'

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Bob Blackman closes the Equitable Life debate by promising that "the fight will continue until such time" as the policyholders receive the compensation they deserve.

The next backbench debate is on epilepsy.

'No plans' to increase funding

House of Commons

Parliament

Treasury Minister Andrea Leadsom says that the needs of policyholders must be balanced with the interests of taxpayers and the wider economy.

"This government has no plans to increase the funding available to the payment scheme," she tells MPs.

Andrea Leadsom
BBC

Summing up

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Grantchester sums up for the Labour benches - and cuts short his speech after being told he has run over his allotted time.

Lord de Mauley is now on his feet, to sum up on behalf of the government.

He says the government is pressing for further reform, to reduce regulations and improve competition.

'Utterly let down'

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow work and pensions minister Stephen Timms is summing up for Labour in the Equitable Life debate.

He says Conservative candidates and many Lib Dems were encouraged to sign a pledge promising to support and vote for "proper compensation for the victims of the Equitable Life scandal".

He claims that the

Equitable Members Action Group (EMAG) campaign now "feels utterly let down".

Better regulation

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Byford, who was herself a farmer, says that she was interested in reading that Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was keen to promote better and smarter regulation.

She says that Defra Secretary Liz Truss said that Defra was on course to cut by 80% the guidance given to farmers.

"My goodness, that would be an achievement," she says.

Agriculture debate

House of Lords

Parliament

The House of Lords is holding a short debate on the effect of EU regulation on UK agriculture, led by UKIP peer Lord Willoughby de Broke.

Lord Willoughby de Broke
BBC

'Fair and reasonable'

House of Commons

Parliament

Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd pays tribute to Fabian Hamilton, who has campaigned on the issue for some years.

Mr Lloyd says he wants to remind members of the House of what the motion calls for - to compensate those who should be compensated, as the economic situation improves.

He says that is "fair and reasonable".

@fabianhamilton

Labour MP Fabian Hamilton tweets: In the House of Commons Chamber moving a debate on Equitable Life victims who are still suffering in spite of 22% payout by this Government

'Justice, accountability and good governance'

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Nick Herbert says compensation paid out would probably have a beneficial impact of the economy as it would be "putting cash into people's hands".

But that is "by-the-by", he adds, as this is an issue fundamentally about "justice, accountability and good governance".

'Fundamentally moral' issue

House of Commons

Parliament

Fabian Hamilton
BBC

Labour MP Fabian Hamilton who is co-sponsoring the debate, says it makes him "sad" to be debating the continuing losses suffered by hundred of thousands of Equitable Life pension holders "once again" after "so many years."

"The government has a duty to ensure that the losses incurred be adequately compensated," Mr Hamilton says.

This is a "fundamentally moral" issue and the obligation to repay those who have lost out should come above "pet projects such as HS2 and Trident", otherwise the whole fabric of society will be affected.

Scotland order agreed

House of Lords

Parliament

The House of Lords agrees the order to devolve powers to the Scottish Parliament to lower the voting age, despite some murmured disagreement from the backbenches.

The next item of business consists of motions to approve three statutory instruments relating to elections.

Compensation schedule

House of Commons

Parliament

The motion calls on the government to pay compensation to pension savers who lost money in the Equitable Life scandal in full by the end of the next parliament.

This is the latest act in a long-running saga, which has pitted the Ombudsman and the Public Administration Committee against ministers who have long resisted the ruling that they should pay up.

'Deliver' Smith Commission proposal

House of Lords

Parliament

Replying for the government, Lord Wallace says he respects the views of peers who oppose votes at 16.

However, he says there is support in the Scottish Parliament for lowering the voting age and the order would "deliver" on a recommendation by the Smith Commission.

Equitable life scandal debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs have now moved on to the first of this evenings debates picked by the backbench business committee, on the government's decision to accept the Parliamentary Ombusdman's finding that it should pay compensation to victims of the

Equitable Life scandal.

Labour support for votes at 16

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow Scotland spokesman Lord McAvoy says he used to oppose votes for those under the age of 18, but "the level of involvement" of 16 and 17-year-olds in the Scottish referendum changed his view.

Last year, Labour leader Ed Miliband said a future Labour government would ensure 16 and 17-year-olds are able to vote in elections across the UK.

'Not thought through'

House of Lords

Parliament

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey says devolving powers over the voting age powers to Scotland is a result of "populism" and has "not been thought through".

Labour peer Lord Reid of Cardowan - also a former Scottish Secretary - intervenes to say the exclusion of 800,000 Scots who live elsewhere in the UK from voting in the referendum was an "absolute disgrace".

Students remove stone

House of Lords

Parliament

The Stone of Destiny was taken from Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1950 by four students including the late

Kay Matheson.

The stone was taken back to Scotland from where it had been removed by Edward I in 1296 as a spoil of war.

During their raid on Westminster Abbey, the stone broke into two pieces.

Stone of Destiny
Crown Copyright

Stone of Scone

House of Lords

Parliament

Another former Scottish Secretary, Conservative peer Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, says his decision to return the Stone of Scone - also known as the Stone of Destiny - to Scotland in 1996 had "nothing whatever to do with any symbolism".

He says "the registrar wished to release the papers" concerning the removal of the stone from Westminster Abbey by four students in 1950 which, he claimed, showed the Scottish Secretary at the time of the theft was in favour of its return to Scotland.

He argues that any peer who thinks that he believed that returning the stone would have revived the Tories' political fortunes in 1996 "underestimates my intelligence".

The stone upon which the kings of Scotland had traditionally been crowned

was removed from Scotland by Edward I of England in 1296 and returned by the UK government 700 years later.

Picture: John Whittingdale

House of Commons

Parliament

John Whittingdale
BBC
Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, John Whittingdale, opens the debate on his committee's report.

Future of the BBC

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now turn to a debate on the

report of the Culture, Media and Sport committee on the future of the BBC, whose current Royal Charter ends in December 2016.

The committee has concluded that the licence fee - which is primarily used to fund the television, radio and online services of the BBC - is "becoming harder and harder to justify" given changes in the media, and does not have a long term future.

The MPs suggested every household could pay a new compulsory levy instead.

The BBC said it agreed the licence fee needed to be modernised.

Scotland: What next?

House of Lords

Parliament

As the Lords debates lowering the voting age in Scotland to 16, you can access stories, features and analysis on Scotland's future from BBC News

here.

Scotland sign
PA